wild food

Rose Hip Syrup

On our walk this morning we spotted wild rose bushes loaded with rose hips and filled our pockets.

Making a syrup from these aromatic, vitamin-rich fruits is easy, and there are a number of ways to enjoy its distinct flavor: add a tablespoon to soda water and gin for a refreshing drink--the rose hip cocktail; drizzle some over yogurt, granola, or pancakes; let it soak into a blackberry cake. You can use this syrup to flavor homemade ice cream or even to glaze a roasted chicken. This is a thin syrup. For a heavier one, add up to an extra 3/4 cup of sugar.

Yields about 2 1/2 cups

Rose Hip Syrup

• 1 cup rose hips, cleaned • 1 cup sugar • 2 cups water

Put the rose hips in a blender and blend for about 10 seconds, until roughly ground. Bring the water to a boil, add the rose hips, return to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Put the mixture through a a few layers of cheese cloth (or jelly bag) and let stand until all the liquid has come through. Set the liquid aside and discard the rose hips. In a small saucepan, on medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the rose hip liquid. Strain the mixture once more through cheese cloth and leave to cool. Keep in a jar, bottle, or any sealable container in the fridge.

Blackberry Oatmeal Cake

Blackberries; one of the best known wild foods and the tastiest of all berries, in my opinion. These were picked in the yard this morning, and it seems we'll have a steady supply of them for a few weeks. The most common pairing of blackberries is with apples, but I've decided to keep it straight and make a Blackberry Oatmeal Cake, adapting an earlier recipe for Blueberry Banana Bread to serve the purpose. This Blackberry Oatmeal Cake is great for breakfast with coffee or as a dessert with maple syrup and/or a drizzle of cream (both highly recommended!). Enjoy!

Ingredients

• 2 cups blackberries • 2 cups whole white flour • 1 cup quick oats • 1 cup sugar • 1/2 cup neutral oil • 1/2 cup yogurt • 1/2 cup milk • 2 large eggs • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix the oatmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth. Add the yogurt, oil, milk and vanilla. Mix well. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined. Gently spoon in the blackberries. Pour batter into a buttered 8-9" round pan, top with oatmeal and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until set.